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Tutt Library and the Research Component of the First Year Experience

Ideas for Incorporating Research into FYE

Specific Goals for Students by End of FYE

1. Using print and electronic information retrieval systems, students will be able to obtain appropriate periodicals and/or monographs.

Sample assignment #1 – Find a Critic/Write an Annotated Bibliography
Sample assignment #2 – The Essence of a Life
Sample assignment #3 – Review a Secondary Source
Sample assignment #4 – Heroes through the Ages
Sample assignment #5 – Impact of a Theory
Sample assignment #6 – Forecasting
Sample assignment #7 – Historical Figure for a Day
Sample assignment #8 – Important People in a Discipline
Sample assignment #9 – Critique a Classic Text

2. Evaluate the validity and importance of information in both print and electronic formats.

Sample assignment #10 – Pick a Point of View
Sample assignment #11 – Research a News Item
Sample assignment #12 – Critique a Theory
Sample assignment #13 – Validity of a Source
Sample assignment #14 – Viewpoint of a Culture/Country
Sample assignment #15 – Trace a Concept through Time
Sample assignment #16 – Update a Literature Review

and be able to distinguish between scholarly and popular publications.

Sample assignment #17 – Meaning of a Term
Sample assignment #18 – Changing Views of a Classic
Sample assignment #19 – Theories in the Popular Press
Sample assignment #20 – Class Debate
Sample assignment #21 – Scholarly Analysis of a Popular Event

3. Know when and how to use the Internet appropriately in research.

Sample assignment #22 – Locate an Image
Sample assignment #23 – Index vs. Internet
Sample assignment #24 – Impact of a Theory
Sample assignment #25 – Assess a Web Site
Sample assignment #26 – Introduction to Class
Sample assignment #27 – From Reference to Source
Sample assignment #28 – How Conditions have Changed
Sample assignment #29 – Alternative Viewpoints

4. Know how to appropriately attribute an information resource using a standard/accepted citation method.

Sample assignment #30 – Classic Research Paper
Sample assignment #31 – Write a Grant Proposal

Ideas for Research Assignments Incorporating the Use of Information Retrieval Systems

Sample Assignment #1
A sample assignment for FYE Course: HS120 “Renaissance Culture”.

Choose one of the assigned readings for the class, then choose one of the following assignments:

A. Critically discuss how the work is handled by scholars. Choose two critics share your values, and choose two critics with whom you disagree. Evaluate these various sources in relation to one another, discussing the salient points and the validity of the arguments. As sources, use at least one book and at least 2 scholarly journal articles. One of the articles should be written before 1950.

Or

B. Create an annotated bibliography on one aspect or issue from the book you chose. Each citation in the bibliography must be annotated topically for its scope, focus and relevance and evaluatively (for its strengths and weaknesses). In order to annotate, you must do some reading in the works you cite. The introduction to your annotated bibliography should be 2 pages, followed by the bibliography. You must cite a minimum of 8 sources, which include at least one book and at least 1 article written before 1950. Book reviews and newspaper articles can also be included. Your final bibliography can be arranged chronologically, topically or in any other manner that seems logical to you.

Sample Assignment #2
A sample assignment for ecology or biology-related FYE Courses.

Capture the essence of a nature writer’s or naturalist’s life. This person can be anyone discussed in class or anyone who you admire for their connection with the natural world. Your portrait of the author/artist is an imaginative reconstruction. First you must fully understand the voice and perspective of your chosen person.

Then find 3 other “voices” that oppose or shed new light on your author/artist. Discuss these voices as well as your own ideas or voice. Minimally, you must use 2 articles from scholarly periodicals and 1 book.

Sample Assignment #3
A sample assignment for art-related FYE Courses.

Students will locate and review at least one article of secondary material on a topic of their group’s choice. This review will be incorporated into a written paper which will be presented in class presentations to other classes.

Comments: Students will attend a library session in Tutt and will learn to use one general periodical index that includes some fulltext (like EBSCO or Periodical Abstracts) and one subject-specific periodical index like MLA. Students will learn how to use the information provided in bibliographic citations to actually retrieve print articles as well as how to retrieve and printout fulltext articles.

Sample Assignment #4
A sample assignment for a FYE course about heroes.

“Heroes through the ages”
Students will trace the changing concept of “heroism” through at least three different decades of the twentieth century by examining periodical literature of the period.

  • 1900-1910
  • 1940-1950
  • 1990-2000

(To complete assignment, students will most likely need to use both print and electronic indexes and both print and electronic journals as well.)

Sample Assignment #5
A sample assignment for FYE Course: GS242 “The Weave of Science and Literature”.

What has been the impact of Chaos Theory on literature (fiction, drama, poetry)?

  1. Use online catalog to find books.
  2. Use indexes to find journals (MLA, JSTOR, etc.).
  3. Search the Internet for additional information.

Sample Assignment #6
A sample assignment for a variety of FYE Courses.

Forecasting (what did articles written in the 1960s or scholars in the 1940’s predict about the future of computers, population, economy, etc.)
(This assignment emphasizes Reference books/ Periodical indexes.)

Sample Assignment #7
A sample assignment for a variety of FYE Courses.

Everyone becomes an historical figure for a day. Students research the person, time-period, culture, etc. They give an oral presentation in class and answer questions, or keep in character for debates with fellow classmates. They could also write papers or journal entries from this perspective. (Anne Hyde has students write papers “in character”.)

(This assignment emphasizes Reference sources/ Online catalog.)

Sample Assignment #8
A sample assignment for a variety of FYE Courses.

Identify important people in a discipline. Have students consult a variety of biographical resources and subject encyclopedias to gain a broader appreciation for the context in which important accomplishments were achieved.

Identify a short bibliography of works, books and articles by this author.

(This assignment emphasizes Reference sources/ Online catalog/ Online indexes/ Web search engines.)

Sample Assignment #9
A sample assignment for a variety of FYE Courses.

Find opposing views. Take a classic text and find the critics. Utilize specialized encyclopedias in a field. Locate review articles. Book reviews if relevant..

(This assignment emphasizes Reference resources/ Journals/ Web search engines.)

Ideas for Research Assignments Requiring the Evaluation of Information

Sample Assignment #10

A sample assignment for FYE Course: GS204: “Ordering Chaos? Scientific and Religious Strategies”.

Pick a particular point of view from which to examine issues in environmental sciences. (Examples: western feminist, nonwestern feminist, industrialized government, Native American, consumer.) Using both electronic and print sources, identify the main assumptions and arguments of that viewpoint. Include at least 2 articles from scholarly periodicals, one book, and two web pages . Decide which assumptions and arguments can be tested scientifically and comment on whether they have been.

(Students will need to use indexes (in print or online) to identify articles in the library; find and evaluate web resources, and attribute statements to their sources. Addresses Library Goals 1-4 for FYE ) Inspired by Keith Kester and Joe Pickle’s FYE course proposal.

Sample Assignment #11
A sample assignment for science-related FYE Courses.

(Students receive newspaper clippings of recent science news). Find the scholarly scientific article that was the first source of this news. Compare the authorship, content, format and conclusions of the clipping with that those of the article. Is there an Internet resource that addresses this subject? Where did the author of the web page get their information?

(Students will need to use indexes (in print or online) to identify articles in the library; find and evaluate web resources, and attribute statements to their sources. Addresses Library Goals 1-4 for FYE )

Sample Assignment #12
A sample assignment for biology-related FYE Courses.

Compare arguments against the theory of evolution from before 1925 with those after 1995. Use both print and electronic resources and include at least 2 articles from scholarly periodicals, one book, and two web pages. As you discuss the arguments, briefly categorize the authors of each of your sources (scientist reporting experimental results, historian, individual expressing opinion, etc.)-even if the exact name of the author is unknown.

(Students will need to use indexes (in print or online) to identify articles in the library; find and evaluate web resources, and attribute statements to their sources. Addresses Library Goals 1-4 for FYE )

Sample Assignment #13
A sample assignment for a variety of FYE Courses.

Students will write a short (3 to 5 paper) on a very timely topic (e.g., genetic engineering, health care reform, social security problems, etc.) using three or more sources: at least one book, one journal article, and one article found on the Internet using a web search engine. Before locating the resources, students will discuss what criteria can be applied to resources (any resources, print or electronic, monographic or periodic) to determine or assess validity: currency, identity and authority of author, institution publishing information, evidence of research, etc.

Sample Assignment #14
A sample assignment for a variety of FYE Courses.

Students find newspaper/periodical articles representing views on an event or topic from different cultures/countries.

(This assignment emphasizes Print and online indexes/ Web search engines/ Evaluation techniques.)

Sample Assignment #15
A sample assignment for a variety of FYE Courses.

Tracing a concept in the field through several decades. Example: How was the professional literature in Anthropology treating the topic of evolution in the 20’s, 40’s, 60’s, today? (Mike Hoffman does this)

(This assignment emphasizes Print and online indexes/ Scholarly vs. popular journals.)

Sample Assignment #16
A sample assignment for a variety of FYE Courses.

Ask students to update a literature review done about five years ago on a topic in the discipline. Students could be given persecuted articles. Students could work in pairs.

(This assignment emphasizes Book reviews/ Online catalog/ Periodical indexes/ Evaluative techniques.)

Ideas for Research Assignments Distinguishing Between Scholarly and Popular Publications

Sample Assignment #17
A sample assignment for a FYE Course on heroes.

“Heroes through the ages”

Contrast the meaning of “heroism” as it is used in the “popular” press with “heroism” as it is explored in scholarly literature.

(To complete assignment, students will need a knowledge of the difference between scholarly and popular journals, and will need to use periodical indexes to locate print or electronic articles.)

Sample Assignment #18
A sample assignment for a variety of FYE Courses.

“Changing views toward the ‘classic’ literature in a field”

Students are assigned a “classic” work from the particular field being studied-preferably one which has gone through several editions or has been reprinted a number of times. Students will locate scholarly reviews (and perhaps popular as well?) of the work (or in the case of a classic work of literature, scholarly criticism) from at least three different time periods. Students will compare and contrast views to the same piece of literature over time.

(This is based on work I did with a student at the research desk-I think it was his idea for a project, not the professor’s specific assignment….but it’s one that could work in many different kinds of classes.)

Sample Assignment #19
A sample assignment for FYE Course: GS242 “The Weave of Science and Literature”.

How has the impact of Chaos Theory been discussed in the scholarly versus the popular literature? Find an article in a scholarly journal and a second article in a popular magazine. Write a short paper analyzing the impact of Chaos Theory from these 2 perspectives.

Sample Assignment #20
A sample assignment for a variety of FYE Courses.

Class Debate- Find popular views on a topic in the general/popular periodicals. Back these assumptions with a scholarly article. Are there any organizations that could also supply information/opinions?

(This assignment emphasizes Online indexes/ Scholarly vs. popular journals/ Web and print strategies for locating organizations.)

Sample Assignment #21
A sample assignment for a variety of FYE Courses.

What was the popular press saying about a political event/ scientific study/ societal change? How is it discussed in the scholarly literature. Or contrast 2-3 popular articles written during the event and contrast them with contemporary scholarly analysis.

(This assignment emphasizes Print and online indexes/ Popular vs. scholarly journals.)

Ideas for Research Assignments Incorporating Appropriate Internet Use

Sample Assignment #22

A sample assignment for art-related FYE Courses.

Students will locate at least one image accessible through the Internet.

Process: Students will attend a session in Tutt Library and use a course web page to access tools that will aid them in finding appropriate images. Students will learn to use “free” Internet search engines like AltaVista and online collections like “Museums Online” as well as fee-based databases like the Bridgeman Art Library and the College’s own Art Image Database.

Comments: In addition to finding appropriate images for the particular project, students will learn something about searching for information on the Internet, the haphazard way information is organized on the Internet (if it is organized at all), the problems inherent in keyword searching and the potential advantages of searching a database with a controlled vocabulary.

Sample Assignment #23
A sample assignment for FYE Course: GS242 “The Weave of Science and Literature”.

  1. Find poems about chaos written either before or after the advent of Chaos theory.
    • Use poetry reference works that index poems by topic (Grainger’s Index of Poetry).
    • Find full-text sources of poetry on the Internet and search by keyword.
      • Search collections of full-text documents, i.e. Project Gutenberg, etc.
      • Use search engines
  2. Find biographical information about the poets. Were they scientists? Did they have a special relationship to nature? Apply this biographical information to your analysis of the poem.
    • Use reference works, online catalog for books, indexes for journals.
    • Search the Internet for additional information.
  3. Find literary criticism and analysis of the poem. How have other scholars interpreted the poem?
    • Use reference works, online catalog for books, indexes for journals.
    • Search the Internet for additional information.
  4. Write a short paper analyzing the poem you have chosen in light of what you have learned about Chaos Theory, the biographical information available about the poet, and the scholarly literary criticism written about the poem.

Sample Assignment #24
A sample assignment for FYE Course: GS242 “The Weave of Science and Literature”.

Compare the impact of Chaos Theory in two of the sciences. Find 1 book and 2 journal articles and 1 authoritative web site in each of the 2 sciences. Write a short paper comparing and contrasting the impact in the two sciences.

Sample Assignment #25
A sample assignment for a variety of FYE Courses.

Ask students to develop their own assessment criteria for Web sites on a topic and discuss the importance of them in class.

(This assignment emphasizes Web search engines/ Evaluation techniques.)

Sample Assignment #26
A sample assignment for a variety of FYE Courses.

Students take turns developing an introduction to the day’s class session, providing visuals, timelines, maps, definitions, biographical information, etc.

(This assignment emphasizes Reference sources/ Web search engines.)

Sample Assignment #27
A sample assignment for a variety of FYE Courses.

Find a reference to a study, report in popular literature and find the actual source. The faculty member supplies several references to sources such as: “In findings released in the The New England Journal of Medicine last Monday….” “A government study says that the effects of child care linger…”

Students find the actual study and other articles written about the study in newspapers, journals etc. Are there any references to this study on the Web? Evaluate the web sites.

(This assignment emphasizes Popular vs. scholarly journals/ Online indexes/ Web search engines/ Evaluation techniques.)

Sample Assignment #28
A sample assignment for a variety of FYE Courses.

How have conditions changed…an economic condition/social condition? Compare a situation 20 years ago with current state. Use reports, statistics, articles to construct a response.

(This assignment emphasizes Print and online indexes/ Reference sources/ Web search engines/ Evaluation techniques.)

Sample Assignment #29
A sample assignment for a variety of FYE Courses.

Alternative/opposing viewpoints on a topic. Identify organizations on either side of an issue. Find evidence of their beliefs or opinions on the organizations website or other publications.

(This assignment emphasizes Online indexes/ Reference sources/ Web search engines/ Evaluation techniques.)

Ideas for Research Incorporating Attribution of Information Resources

Sample Assignment #30
A sample assignment for a variety of FYE Courses.

The classic research paper is always okay. If they are writing several papers, maybe they could be designed to draw on different types of research sources with each paper.

(This assignment emphasizes Online indexes/ Tutt Tiger catalog/ Reference sources/ Web search engines/ Evaluation techniques.)

Sample Assignment #31
A sample assignment for a variety of FYE Courses.

Write a grant proposal addressed to a specific funding agency; include supporting literature review, budget, etc. Have class peer review proposals.

(This assignment emphasizes Reference sources/ Journals/ Web search engines.)

Contact Us

Circulation: (719) 389-6184
or email circulation
Research Desk: (719) 389-6662
or email research
Interlibrary Loan: (719) 389-6664
or email ILL

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